November 11 was a special day in our countries. In Canada it is a day to remember the ultimate sacrifice paid by men and women to secure and maintain freedom. To all those in the Canadian Forces who paid that complete prices, and those who serve even now, we remember you. We bring you to the forefront of our minds this Remembrance Day.
In my homeland of the United States, it is a time to recognize veterans, whose who have served in the Armed Forces, and those who serve now. It is a day we look to and honor the living. You, too, are not forgotten, whether you serve thousands of miles from home, or your sacrifice is marked by the decades that have passed.
Great battles have been fought over the years. Some of them have seen incredible casualties, and times we are amazed that anyone survived. There are tales of great heroics, of standing against impossible odds and obtaining victory.
Some of these heroes are well-known military and political leaders. Others are our fathers, grandfathers, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters. They considered it an honor to fight for those who could not, to be a line of defense and a tool for liberty. And we are grateful that they went where we could not, for their commitment to a code, a country and a cause.
As I reflect over these days of remembrance and recognition, I hear a challenge.
What will YOU be remembered for? When the time comes to look back on your life, what cause will be revealed as your life’s work? What code will you have lived by? What difference will you have made?
In the weeks leading up to Christmas, one of my favorite films will be replayed: It’s A Wonderful Life. It’s funny to think that I don’t recall ever seeing it before adulthood. The message is simple: If you were never born, George Bailey, so much good would never have happened.
Another favorite movie of mine tells the story of how a blacksmith lost his wife and child, committed murder, became heir to a knight, and helped lead an impossible defense against a great army. A lesson Balian learned before heading out for the Kingdom of Heaven was, “What man is a man who does not make the world better?”
How will you be remembered? What do you offer to your family tree: Honor, Shame, or Indifference?
You have the opportunity to be remembered for your life’s contribution to the world. Accept the challenge.
This is the only race worth running. I’ve run hard right to the finish, believed all the way. All that’s left now is the shouting – God’s applause!
(2 Timothy 4:7-8a, MSG)